‘I miss him so badly’: Mum’s tribute to son who never got over close friend’s death

PUBLISHED: 17:31 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:04 07 October 2020

George Cassidy, who died at Hellesdon Barns earlier this year. Picture: The Cassidy Family

George Cassidy, who died at Hellesdon Barns earlier this year. Picture: The Cassidy Family

Cassidy Family

The heartbroken mother of a man who died at a garden centre has spoken of the “gaping hole” his death has left in her life, urging other young men to speak out about their troubles.

George Cassidy, pictured with his older brother Jack. Picture: Cassidy FamilyGeorge Cassidy, pictured with his older brother Jack. Picture: Cassidy Family

On the morning of July 6, 27-year-old George Cassidy died in a polytunnel at Hellesdon Barns on Hellesdon Hall Road, where he worked alongside his role as his mother’s carer.

The youngest son of 55-year-old Lesley Cassidy, Mr Cassidy grew up in the Tuckswood area of Norwich and cared for his mother, living on Scarlet Road.

Following an inquest into his death held on Tuesday, Mrs Cassidy paid tribute to her son - and said she wished he had opened up to her about his own mental health troubles.

She said: “He cared for me for seven years and if I ever needed anything I knew I could rely on him. I miss him so badly.

Hellesdon Barns, on Hellesdon Hall Road in Hellesdon. Picture: GoogleHellesdon Barns, on Hellesdon Hall Road in Hellesdon. Picture: Google

“He was a problem-solver who people knew they could go to. A lot of people are all talk and no action, but he was a doer and would do anything for anyone.”

Mr Cassidy, a former City of Norwich School pupil, was a keen footballer who enjoyed playing five-a-side and more often than not would be on the winning side, Mrs Cassidy said.

The inquest heard how the death of his close friend Callum Speck in May 2019 had a lasting impact on the avid Manchester United fan and that he struggled to come to terms with the loss.

Mrs Cassidy said: “Losing his best friend hit him hard, but I honestly had no idea just what he was going through. I just wish he had spoken to me about it. If I could talk to him now I would just ask him ‘why didn’t you tell me?’

“But that’s the kind of person he was. He would never put himself first and I think he was just so worried about how his feelings might have affected me. If he had just told me more I might have been able to help.

“I feel like there’s a gaping hole in my life that can never be filled and I think that is how he felt about Callum.”

Mr Speck, who grew up on the same street as Mr Cassidy, died more than a year ago at the age of 23.

In a written statement read out at the inquest, his mother Michelle Speck said: ““I knew George since he was a child and he had a very kind and loving nature. My son Callum was very well liked and George was very traumatised by his death as they were very close friends.”

Mrs Cassidy added that she had fond memories of her son growing up and visiting places like Hemsby, where he would be more interested in playing in the sand than on the amusement arcades.

She added: “He was such a funny lad growing up and went on to become just a really nice guy who people knew they could trust with their secrets. If anyone had a problem they knew George would try to sort it.

“He was respected by people young and old at the garden centre and was just a lovely young man.”

Darryl Eastell, who worked with him at Hellesdon Barns and fought to save his life by performing CPR on in the day he died, said he was “hugely missed”.

He said: “I was very close to George and had known him since he was around seven years old. He was a lovely chap and is hugely missed by everyone who knew him.”

Concluding that his death was suicide, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said: “He was clearly affected by the death of his close friend and had not been the same since.”

His medical cause of death was hanging.

• If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple and Android.

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